Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

All application materials must be received by 5 pm (Pacific) on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. See the “How to apply” section below for more details.

Please note: The following position is an on-campus research position funded by the Learning Aligned Employment Program (LAEP). Students applying to this position must meet financial aid eligibility requirements and be a part of at least one of the underrepresented backgrounds listed at the bottom of this description.

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Review the information below AND check-in with the Financial Aid department for additional information regarding LAEP. Additional information is available on the financial aid website, where you can also complete a questionnaire to have your eligibility reviewed in advance.

Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps - Schatz Energy Research Center
Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

Job summary

Department: School of Engineering
Research Mentor: Arne Jacobson
Work hours: 10 hrs/week maximum
Hourly pay rate: $18/hr

Dr. Arne Jacobson of the School of Engineering, in partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center, has an opening for a student research position related to solar water pumping systems. This position is expected to begin in January 2024 and to continue through the end of the spring semester 2024. The selected student would work with Dr. Jacobson and research staff at the Schatz Center.

This student research assistant (SRA) will carry out research tasks related to quality assessment of small-scale solar water pumps (SWP) used primarily in agricultural settings in off-grid areas. The activities will include research on topics such as SWP durability, battery-integrated systems, safety certifications for SWP components, published standards for pumps, and more.

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Additionally, the SRA may assist with testing SWPs and solar lighting products, developing spreadsheet templates, informational documents, and draft language for policies. The SRA may also participate in other efforts related to off-grid energy access work.

Minimum Qualifications: Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

  • Proficiency with modern office computing, including word processing and spreadsheet analysis.
  • Ability and willingness to work with and learn from others effectively in a team setting.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in written and interpersonal contexts.
  • Ability and interest to engage in research and analysis relating to solar water pumps.
  • Ability to self-motivate and follow through on assignments.
  • Demonstrates interest and enthusiasm for issues related to energy and environmental sustainability.
  • Commitment to supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the workplace.
  • Meet eligibility requirements for the Learning Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) as described below.

Career competencies that will be developed

  • Research methods
  • Technical writing
  • Interpersonal communications in a professional setting
  • Knowledge related to off-grid energy access, solar energy, water pumping, electronics, and design of test methods and standards for quality assurance
  • Improvement in skills mentioned in the minimum qualification section

Position is most suited for students interested in or majoring in…

  • Environmental Resources Engineering
  • Energy Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Environmental Science and Management (Energy and Climate emphasis)
  • Physics
  • Applicants from other majors are also encouraged to apply if interested

How to apply

Applicants must submit all of the following via email to [email protected]:

  • a letter of application / cover letter (1-2 pages)
  • a resume (1-2 pages)
  • first and last name, and student ID #

In your cover letter please be sure to describe any relevant academic or employment experience, and why you are interested in working with the Schatz Center and/or in this research area. Academic experience could include any current or past coursework that is relevant to the role.

Please also include your ability to work during typical business hours in the Pacific time zone, and your availability to work onsite at the Schatz Center. Letters may be addressed to the “Solar Water Pump SRA Search Committee.”

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All application materials must be received by 5 pm (Pacific) on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. Send all materials to [email protected] and title your email “Solar Water Pump SRA Application” for consideration.

LAEP eligibility

Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information regarding LAEP.

Students must be (a) from an underrepresented background (see below) and (b) meet all the following criteria:

  • Enrolled at least half-time
  • California resident classification
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress in a program leading to a degree or certificate
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Eligibility to work in the U.S.

Please note that LAEP is not available to graduate students.

Underrepresented Backgrounds (students must meet at least one of the following):

  • First generation college students
  • Low-income students
  • Current or former foster youth
  • Homeless students or at risk of becoming homeless
  • Students with disabilities
  • Displaced workers
  • Students with dependent children
  • Formerly incarcerated students
  • Undocumented students
  • Students meeting the requirements of Assembly Bill 540
  • Students who are veterans

Questions and inquiries: Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

Who we are and what we do

Since 1989, the Schatz Center has been a leader in applied research and project development for clean and renewable energy.

Our current portfolio includes offshore wind research and analysis, renewable energy microgrid development, sustainable transportation design, carbon life cycle analysis, solar product testing, and planning and policy for clean energy access around the globe.

We are located on the campus of Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California. Arcata’s 800-acre community forest and 11 miles of trails begin one block away — and we are within biking distance of California’s second largest inland bay and the Pacific Ocean. 

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As residents of a rural coastal community, we are keenly aware of our social and environmental responsibilities. We are committed to increasing energy access and resilience for communities worldwide — and do so through clean and renewable design that reduces climate change and restores environmental and human health.

Our organizational commitments: Student Research Assistant for Solar Water Pumps – Schatz Energy Research Center

Our vision

We envision a healthy planet with thriving, equitable, resilient communities powered by clean energy.

Our purpose

Our team is committed to addressing climate change and improving human and ecosystem health through work that supports clean energy, climate-resilience, equity, and justice. Our work includes:

  • Research and development – we do applied research focused on energy and environmental issues.
  • Technology deployment – we design, integrate, build, test, and operate innovative, renewable, and resilient energy systems that are responsive to social and environmental needs.
  • Collaboration – we work with public and private partners including Tribal Nations, communities, agencies, academic institutions, foundations, and industry to exchange knowledge and implement innovative solutions locally and internationally.
  • Education and Training – we support learning that provides practical, hands-on experience for current and future practitioners and leaders.

Our values

Kindness: Treating people and the planet with care and respect through acts of inclusion, helpfulness, generosity, and encouragement.

Integrity: Approaching one another and our interdisciplinary research with curiosity, open-mindedness, transparency, and humility.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion: Providing a nourishing and rewarding environment for Center staff, students, and partners. Respecting the differences of our colleagues and actively seeking to identify and remove barriers to ensure opportunities to thrive.

Justice: Working to advance racial justice, gender equality and women’s empowerment, LGBTQIA+ rights, economic equality, and environmental justice.

Teamwork and collaboration: Supporting internal and external community building and engagement to create inclusive and innovative solutions. Sharing knowledge with and learning from our colleagues, collaborators, community partners, and the public to advance understanding.

Effectiveness: Using our technical, scientific, and policy expertise to do good work that makes a difference.




Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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